Doha — International experts from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on Climate Action Network (CAN) called on the world to make a success of the 18th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) underway in Doha, Qatar. The meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol started on November 26 and will run until December 07.
CAN called for developed countries to commit to a second period of the world's legally binding climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, and asked nations to show real commitment on carbon emission reductions and close the loopholes that allow the escape of about 30 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year.
"Developed countries need to increase their emission reduction commitments as current pledges were so far inadequate to keep the temperature rise below 2 degrees, as well as to lock into finances to support mitigation action by developing nations," CAN said on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties on climate change (COP18).
Tasneem Essop, international climate policy advocate for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said the inadequate performance by developed countries is eroding trust which would have implications for the negotiations. "While developing countries can take on more action, they can only do so if developed countries meet their commitments to provide finance," she said.
Martin Kaiser of the Greenpeace delegation said the way countries approached the Kyoto Protocol would set the tone for the talks. "EU leaders need to reject pressure from the coal and oil industries, and strengthen its legal limitation of atmospheric pollution without loopholes. This sends out a challenge to US President Barack Obama and other world leaders to restart their international engagement in the interests of their citizens and millions of people around the globe. We call on Europe to step up at this conference, and criticise Japan and Canada for refusing to sign up to Kyoto's second commitment period," he said.
According to the Director of CAN International, Wael Hmaidan, the Doha talks are about what kind of world we want to live in. "With warming at just 0.8 degrees, devastating consequences of climate change have already hit many countries this year, including Hurricane Sandy in the Americas and droughts in the US and Russia. The door to staying below the internationally agreed 2 degrees temperature rise is still open, but we need developed countries to increase their commitment to reducing carbon emissions more quickly so that this door does not slam shut," Hmaidan said.
He said if the talks do not produce a work programme that is concrete and meaningful, then the talks' ability to produce a fair and legally binding agreement to deal with climate change after 2020 would be impacted.
"The Qatar COP presidency - the first for the Middle East - needs to build trust by making an emissions reduction pledge, or risk losing political momentum in the talks," Hmaidan referred to the host country that is said to have a huge carbon footprint itself.